Laurent Gbagbo. Photo: Paterne DIDI via Flickr (CC).
Laurent Gbagbo. Photo: Paterne DIDI via Flickr (CC).

ICC AC reverses decision of TC and orders review of Gbagbo detention: On 19 July 2017, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC reversed the decision of Trial Chamber I on the detention of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, and directed the Trial Chamber to carry out a new review of the matter. In March 2017, ICC Trial Chamber I ruled by majority that Gbagbo shall remain in detention, a decision which was later appealed by the defence. The former Ivory Coast leader has been in detention in The Hague since 2011, and has pleaded not guilty to four charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, which have been leveled against him in the context of the 2010 post-election violence in Ivory Coast which left more than 3,000 people dead. The prosecution has repeatedly argued that if Gbagbo is to be released from jail, he would flee to escape justice. The Appeals Chamber unanimously found that the Trial Chamber I made a number of errors in rejecting Gbagbo’s request for release, including failing to consider the duration of time Gbagbo has already spent in detention alongside the risks being reviewed and by considering the defendant’s advanced age as a factor that increased his desire to abscond, rather than one that may potentially mitigate such possibility. While remitting the matter of Gbagbo’s detention or potential release to the Trial Chamber for a new review, the Appeals Chamber emphasized that such decision does not suggest in any way what the outcome of such review should be. Gbagbo will continue to be detained until such new review has been undertaken. (ICC Press Release, AlJazeera, ABCNews)

ICC Judges. Photo: ICC via Flickr.
ICC Judges. Photo: ICC via Flickr.

ICC Judges amends Regulations of the Court: On 12 July 2017, the judges of the ICC unanimously adopted some amendments to the Regulations of the Court during a special plenary session convened by the President. The adopted amendments, which have been presented as intending to expedite and streamline the Court’s proceedings on appeal, modify section 4 of chapter 3 of the Regulations in three respects: (i) inclusion of grounds of appeal in notices of appeal against convictions, acquittals, sentences and reparations orders, thus enabling the Appeals Chamber to start preparation for these appeals earlier and allowing for an oral hearing to be held sooner in the appellate process; (ii) shortening of the procedure applicable in respect of appeals granting/denying interim release of a person, by requiring the inclusion of the grounds of appeal in the notice of appeal, moving towards orality and establishing a deadline on the Appeals Chamber for its judgments against interim release decisions; and (iii) clarifying certain terminology used during appeals proceedings by introducing uniform use of the term “notice of appeal” and replacing the term “document in support of the appeal” by the term “appeal brief”. The amendments entered into force on 20 July 2017, and have been circulated to State Parties for any comments or objections. (ICC Press Release)

ICC accused, Dominic Ongwen. Photo: coalitionfortheicc.org via Bing (CC).
ICC accused, Dominic Ongwen. Photo: coalitionfortheicc.org via Bing (CC).

Witness testifies against Ongwen on orders to attack IDP camp for food: Open Society Justice Initiative reported that a former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter testified on Friday at the ICC against Dominic Ongwen, one of LRA’s alleged commanders. Witness P-054 has reportedly testified that Ongwen allegedly ordered attacks on the Abok and Odek camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in 2003 to restock food supplies which had been exhausted. While providing more details of LRA’s attack, the witness also claimed that he was also a member of the brigade charged with carrying out the task, also known as the Sinia brigade, and that Ongwen was the brigade’s commander. The witness also confirmed that children as you as 10 years old were members of the brigade, and that also girls, including Ongwen’s wife, took part to the alleged attack. Ongwen is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed after 1 July 2002 in northern Uganda, which include charges in relation to the attacks on the Abok and Odek IDP camps. (New Vision)